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Lake Louise/Jasper/Banff/Golden Trip Report

Lake Louise/Jasper/Banff/Golden Trip Report

Old Aug 1st, 2007, 12:25 PM
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Lake Louise/Jasper/Banff/Golden Trip Report

Just back from 2 week family trip with wife and two teen boys. Four stops, decent (albeit a bit warm) weather with just a bit of rain. Hiking and outdoor activities our priority. Following in order of trip:
Days 1 - 3 Lake Louise:
Stayed at Chateau (splurge) wife’s dream. Deluxe Gold Level Lakeview room superb. Comfortable beds, huge bathroom, great breakfast and afternoon snacks.
Dinners at Deer Lodge (good, small portions for boys and me). Walliser Stube @ Chateau for fondue(good, fun, but expensive). and Glacier Saloon @ Chateau (reasonable, good food, sat outside lakefront).
- Moraine Lake over Sentinel Pass to Paradise Valley. Spectacular long hike combining several highlights into one. Trailhead shuttle required, planned that in advance. If in decent shape recommend this one to anyone. No bear restrictions when we went, but put in place a few days later when grizzly sow and cubs moved into area.
- Hotel to Lake Agnes to Big Beehive to Plain of six Glaciers. Another long hike that combines several highlights into one. You will not be alone on these trails.
Days 4 - 7 Jasper:
Stayed at Patricia Lake Bungalows (third time). Location and cleanliness of cabins make this a bargain for the area. Maybe a bit tight with two big boys though. Best dinners were cooked over outdoor firepit. Little IGA store in town surprisingly well stocked and not too expensive.
- Opal Loop Maligne Lake. Nice short, but steep hike above the lake. Very nice view.
- Tried to make it to Berg Lake @ Mt. Robson, but too much for day hike. Turned around prior to Emperor Falls. Mt. Robson was out and gorgeous though. Trail by Lake Kinney flooded in spots.
- Mt. Edith Cavell. Another relatively short, but steep hike to gorgeous view of Angel glacier and moutons all around. Clouds and rain kept the Edith Cavell mountain peak hidden though.
- Days 8 - 11 Banff:
I'm not a huge fan of Banff proper, but wife and kids liked walking around town. Stayed in town @ High Country Inn. Decent hotel with continental breakfast included.
Dinners at Keg (chain, no longer have salad bar)OK. Bumpers, decent food (son said burger not too good though my steak was fine), reasonable prices, have salad bar. Tocino, very good food including nice fondue, a bit pricey but worth it.
- Stanley Glacier. A favorite from past trips. Don't stop at official trail end, instead continue up the scramble to "oasis" above. Beautiful with waterfalls all around and glacier above.
- Lake O'Hara. Got bus reservations and did the Alpine Route. Wife and one son quit after Huber ledges and hiked down from Lake Oesa. Height and drop offs a bit much. Spectacular yet demanding hike ending at top of All Souls followed by steep drop back down to lake. They should have stayed with us as the Huber Ledges were the worst part. Hike to top of Wiwaxy Pass at the start brutal (steep).
- Goof off day, canoe rental and hang around town.
- Iceline (on the way to Golden). Gorgeous hike (steep start though)that turned out longer than we planned. Bridge over Little Yoho was out at Lake Celeste cutoff. Long day, views from Iceline worth it though.
Days 12 - 14:
Stayed at Kicking Horse Resort in two bedroom condo (Glacier Lodge). Only $200.00 for 900 Ft2 plus place next to gondola with full kitchen, but no AC (it was warm).
Dinners: At Cork at resort, very good food, good service, reasonable prices. Eagles Eye at top of the mountain. Probably the best view of any place I've ever been (only rival being Seven Glaciers at Alyeska ski resort in Alaska). Food very good as well. Expensive, but gondola trip included in price.
- Mountain biking at ski resort. Exciting to say the least, take gondola to the top and bike down. Tough on the forearms with all the braking. Dumped twice, but no major damage, sore the next morning.
- Rafting the Kicking Horse with Alpine Rafting. Signed up for Ultimate whitewater, but lower canyon section closed due to high water. Did middle section twice, lots of fun, nothing harrowing though.
That's it, glad to answer any questions. Only disappointments were the US/Canadian exchange rate and expensive beer. Last trip Canadian dollar was like .75, this time about par.

DaveS is offline  
Old Aug 1st, 2007, 12:50 PM
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Thanks for the trip report, Dave. I haven't done the gondola ride at Kicking Horse Resort yet. It's already on my "to do" list for the future, but your praise of the view has motivated me to raise it to a higher position on the list.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Aug 1st, 2007, 01:27 PM
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Thanks for the great report, Dave. It will help me plan my hikes!
cmcfong is offline  
Old Aug 1st, 2007, 04:32 PM
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I loved your trip report, very informative. I especially liked some of your phrasing, it made me smile.

"Dumped twice, but no major damage, sore the next morning."

ShelliDawn is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2007, 05:39 PM
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Great trip report! Imformative, yet fun, easy read...short and to the point!

I've never been up the gondola at Kicking Horse. The group I'm going with in September are not mountain bikers. Can you take the gondola down, too? Is it worth it to just go up, walk around, then back down?
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Old Aug 4th, 2007, 07:38 PM
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The view from the top of the Kicking Horse gondola is superb. Bring your binoculars and long telephoto lenses. We ate at the restaurant and found the food good but our waitress forgot about us so we enjoyed the scenery for about an hour more than planned. We enjoyed a couple of very short hikes because we were not prepared for longer ones but others were and were enjoying them. When we were finished up there we rode the gondola back down.
rm_mn is offline  
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